One phrase which you may hear pop up a lot when reading about hand controls is ‘mechanical linkage’, but how do you use it and what exactly is it? Find out below.
Regular handicap hand controls operate by simply pushing down on the floor pedals using the strength in your hands and arm. These require much more effort than those where the linkage between the action point (where the hands operate the hand controls) and the foot pedal is mechanically assisted.
What does mechanical linkage mean?
With regards to driving controls it means that the force required to move the floor pedals is spread out and hence the total force required is reduced.
- If you were to push down as hard as you could on your accelerator without the linkage then you would be wasting energy because your car can only speed up so fast, and since you don’t know how much force that requires you end up wasting energy.
However, if the force which is required to push down is re-distributed more evenly to reflect the car’s capabilities it means you can limit how much force is required. It stops you wasting your energy and the net result is that the whole activity is easier on the disabled driver.
How can I install mechanical linkage?
Unfortunately you need to have your specific manufacturer’s design with it already installed and you’ll find it’s intrinsic within the design and cannot be simply ‘added’ where required.
Who manufacturers them?
You’ll find that most companies which make handicap driving equipment will have several available; however they’re not as endemic as regular non-mechanized hand controls.
- You’ll generally find that companies may just have one model with this feature, with the rest being just plain old designs.
Is mechanical linkage important?
Well that’s something you have to decide yourself, but if you’re young and strong or even middle aged and in reasonable shape then you don’t need it at all. It’s designed to cater for people with low energy levels or minimal muscle strength, or those who just want an easier driving experience.
- If you have the money to spend then they’ll be worth getting we’d say, you’ll find driving easier and hence safer – and by extension of these two more enjoyable.
How much does it cost?
The cost varies dramatically on price, quality and manufacturer – with Menox and Veigel being very expensive and MPS Monarch being relatively cheaper. They’re a step up from regular hand controls there’s no doubt about that, but don’t think they’re completely unreasonable if you’re getting them from a mid ranged manufacturer.